In the next day or two, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are likely to impeach Pres. Trump for the second time. It is a silly thing to do a few days before Trump leaves office.
This “instant impeachment” as some people are calling it, will further tear at the fabric of the country. Impeachment is supposed to be a thoughtful, deliberative process. This one will have no hearings, little debate, little due process. Trump won’t have time to mount a fair defense. Impeachment will essentially be an indictment with no opportunity for a trial. We wouldn’t stand for that in the justice system.
Trump is defeated and humiliated -- mostly of his own doing. His voice has been silenced. The enormous media focus on impeachment detracts from Pres.-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration and further alienates Trump’s base.
What’s more, the rationale to impeach Trump is flimsy at best. No question, he has used inflammatory rhetoric for four years. His speech last Wednesday declaring the election was stolen from him was unfortunate, but it was normal Trump rhetoric. He said the crowd would go to the Capitol “to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.” Even the Washington Post, which hates Trump, said he made no overt request for protestors to enter the Capitol or use violence.
Clearly, the storming of the Capitol was planned long before Trump’s speech. Some of the rioters had equipment and gear, and some even had weapons. They didn’t run and get that stuff because Trump incited them to violence. It was all planned beforehand.
If advocating a public protest at the Capitol is a crime, many, many politicians and other leaders would be in jail.
Trump supporters see hypocrisy and inconsistency in the Democrats’ demand for impeachment over the Capitol rioting. Certainly, the Capitol protest turned terribly violent and ugly. Lives were lost. Those involved should be fully prosecuted. But many leftist politicians and groups encouraged protests all summer long to bring attention to police brutality and racial injustice. Many of those protests also turned violent and deadly. Just as politicians cowered in fear in the Capitol, shop owners cowered in fear as their stores were looted and burned.
Democrats didn’t even acknowledge the violence for months, and finally did so only after polls showed they were being hurt politically. Kamala Harris and many other liberals raised money to bail violent protesters out of jail.
Certainly, the riots at the Capitol were a tremendous jolt because this was the U.S. Capitol, the cradle of democracy. It was an attack on elected leaders. But we should all agree that riots and violence anywhere in America should not be tolerated. But those supporting and encouraging peaceful protests aren’t necessarily to blame when protests get out of control.
Those pursuing impeachment say it wasn’t just the speech, but the weeks of Trump’s unwillingness to accept the election outcome and his many claims that the election was stolen. As I’ve written previously, Trump’s doomed crusade to reverse the election results was foolish and irresponsible. But it’s not against the law for a losing candidate to use every possible legal means to contest the results. It’s not an impeachable offense. His cajoling of the Georgia lieutenant governor to find him some votes was stupid, but it went nowhere. Once again, Democrats are dumbing down impeachment.
Trump has embarrassed himself and driven away many supporters with his unwillingness to accept the election results. Even his own vice president repudiated Trump’s pleas. Trump has soiled his own legacy, as I wrote previously.
But impeachment will not be good for the nation. Trump probably doesn’t care about being impeached again. It will keep him leading the newscasts for a few extra days and make him even more of a martyr in the eyes of his base.
I think there’s little chance for much unity in the months ahead. But the Democrats will ensure anger and hard feelings among a big chunk of the country if they impeach Trump again. Let’s not throw kerosene on the fire.